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11 September 2017, 17:58
The Labour Party will leave itself “boxed in” with its attempt to kill the EU Withdrawal Bill tonight, according to one of the party’s MPs.
Caroline Flint, formerly Europe Minister, will defy Jeremy Corbyn’s three-line whip by abstaining from tonight’s crucial Brexit vote.
The legislation has been branded a “power grab” by some shadow ministers and will be voted on its second reading at midnight on Monday.
The bill is a central piece of Brexit legislation that will bring EU laws and regulations into the UK statute book.
Ms Flint, who represents a pro-Leave constancy, says Labour’s strategy to vote against was wrong - but told Iain Dale it wasn’t an easy choice to defy her party.
She said: “My worry is we’ve boxed ourselves in here despite some very legitimate things Keir Starmer is saying about changes needed to this bill.”
The MP for Don Valley continued: “The truth is tonight as we vote I do think the government will get a second reading and then we’ll get into the devil in the detail of this bill and there will have to be amendments and we’ll have to get on with it.
“I just feel we could have served ourselves better, the Labour Party, if we’d just recognised that and shown ourselves at the vanguard of getting those changes because at the end of the day the government can look to its own backbenchers to provide those amendments.
“I would have hoped we could have had a consensus across the whole house to affect that change together.”